How to Groom A British Shorthair Cat

Reviewed by Grooming Expert: Clarissa Stevenson, CFMG

Table of Contents

The British Shorthair is a popular breed known for its round face, chubby cheeks, and plush coat. They are medium to large-sized cats with sturdy builds and calm, affectionate personalities.

British Shorthairs are often described as being independent but also enjoy spending time with their owners. They are known for their intelligence and adaptability, making them a great choice for families with children or other pets.

Their short, dense coat requires minimal grooming, but regular brushing can help prevent hairballs and keep their coat shiny and healthy.

British Shorthair Cat Characteristics

Body Type: Cobby

Coat Type & Length: Short

Coat Texture: The British Shorthair has a dense, plush coat that is short and smooth to the touch. It’s a low-maintenance coat that doesn’t require much grooming.

British Shorthair Cat

Essential Grooming Tools for British Shorthair Cats

cat grooming tools

In order to groom British Shorthair Cats properly, you’ll need to have the following tools:

Grooming ToolDescription
Slicker brushGets rid of stray hairs, detangles minor knots, and preserves a glossy coat
Grooming glovesGently removes loose hair while providing a relaxing massage
Nail clippersTrims your cat’s nails carefully to hinder overgrowth and reduce the risk of injuries
Ear cleanerEar cleaning solutions effectively eliminate unpleasant odors in your cat’s ears by removing wax, debris, and bacteria, thus maintaining cleanliness and promoting overall ear health.
Cotton ballsEffectively absorb and remove dirt, debris, and excess earwax from the cat’s ears, contributing to better overall ear health and reducing the risk of infections
ToothbrushRegular toothbrushing keeps your cat’s mouth clean and reduces the buildup of odor-causing bacteria, resulting in fresher breath
ToothpasteCat toothpaste contains ingredients that combat bad breath, leaving your cat with a fresher, more pleasant mouth odor
ShampooCat shampoos effectively eliminate dirt, grime, and oils from your cat’s coat, while also neutralizing any unpleasant odors, leaving your cat’s fur clean, soft, and fresh-smelling


Grooming Your British Shorthair Cat

Brushing Your Cat

Brushing a British shorthair cat

  • Brush your British Shorthair once or twice a week
  • Use the slicker brush or grooming mitt and brush in the direction of hair growth.
  • Increase the frequency of brushing during shedding seasons (typically spring and fall).
  • Provide your cat with a balanced diet and omega-3 supplements to promote a healthy coat and minimize shedding.

Bathing your British Shorthair Cat

bathing a British shorthair cat

British Shorthair cats have thick, dense coats that can be difficult to dry.

  • Start by brushing out any tangles or mats in their fur before getting them wet.
  • Use a gentle, cat-specific shampoo and work it into their coat, being careful not to get any in their eyes or ears.
  • Rinse thoroughly and then wrap them in a towel to absorb as much water as possible.
  • You may need to use a blow dryer on a low setting to finish drying their coat.

Remember to reward your British Shorthair with treats and praise for being such a good sport during their bath!

How Often Should I Bathe My British Shorthair Cat?

You should bathe your British Shorthair cat once every 4-6 weeks to maintain its coat’s health and cleanliness.

How to Trim the Nails of a British Shorthair

How to Trim the Nails of a British Shorthair
Brush My Fur, Human! – 1
  1. Gather your supplies: cat nail clippers, styptic powder (in case of bleeding), and treats.
  2. Find a comfortable spot for your cat, such as a table or your lap.
  3. Hold your cat’s paw gently but firmly and press on the pad to extend the nail.
  4. Use the clippers to trim the tip of the nail, being careful not to cut the quick (the pink part inside the nail).
  5. If you accidentally cut the quick and your cat starts bleeding, apply styptic powder to stop the bleeding.
  6. Repeat with the other paws.
  7. Reward your cat with treats and praise for being a good kitty.

Recommended frequency of clipping: Once every 2-3 weeks.

How to Clean the Ears of a British Shorthair

  • Gather your supplies: cotton balls or pads, ear cleaning solution (make sure it’s safe for cats), and a towel.
  • Hold your British Shorthair securely in your lap or on a table.
  • Gently lift the ear flap and inspect the ear for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian.
  • Saturate a cotton ball or pad with the ear cleaning solution and gently wipe the inside of the ear flap and the ear canal. Be careful not to insert the cotton ball too far into the ear canal.
  • Use a fresh cotton ball or pad to wipe away any excess solution and debris.
  • Repeat on the other ear.
  • Reward your British Shorthair with a treat or some playtime to make the experience positive.

If your British Shorthair has excessive ear wax or a foul odor coming from their ears, contact your veterinarian. This could be a sign of an ear infection or other underlying health issues.

British Shorthair Dental Hygiene

  1. Start by getting your British Shorthair comfortable with having their mouth touched. Gently lift their lip and give them a treat or praise.
  2. Once they are comfortable, introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for cats. Let them sniff and taste the toothpaste.
  3. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush in circular motions along the gum line. Focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth.
  4. Be gentle and patient. If your British Shorthair resists, take a break and try again later.
  5. Brush their teeth at least twice a week to maintain good oral hygiene.

Recommended Frequency: At least twice a week.

Preventing and Addressing Common Coat Issues

Grooming your cat is 90% done. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the following “potential” issues:

Fleas and Ticks

Cat fleas life Cycle
Credit: Tevra Pet

Watch out for signs of flea infestation such as excessive scratching, biting, or licking.

To prevent fleas and ticks, regularly groom your cat with a flea comb and use a flea preventative treatment recommended by your veterinarian.

Matted Fur

British Shorthairs have dense, short fur that can easily become matted if not brushed regularly. Use a slicker brush to gently remove any tangles and mats, and consider a professional grooming session if the mats are severe.

Allergies and Skin Irritations

British Shorthairs are prone to developing skin allergies and irritations, especially around their ears and face. Regular grooming and cleaning of these areas with a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo can help prevent and alleviate any discomfort.

How Often Should I Brush My British Shorthair Cat?

You should brush your British Shorthair cat at least once a week to keep their short, dense coat healthy and shiny. However, during shedding season, it’s recommended to brush them more frequently, up to two to three times a week, to prevent hairballs and matting.

Can I Use Human Shampoo on My British Shorthair Cat?

You should not use human shampoo on your British Shorthair cat. Human shampoo is formulated for human hair and can be too harsh for a cat’s delicate skin. It can strip their natural oils and cause dryness, itching, and irritation. Instead, use a cat-specific shampoo that is gentle and pH-balanced for their skin.